WAGONER COUNTY - Two K9 deputies with the Wagoner County Sheriff's Department will soon be outfitted with protective armor - just like their human handlers.
According to a department spokesperson, Edo & Max will each receive a bullet- and stab-protective vest, thanks to a charitable donation from non-profit organization Vested Interest in K9s, Inc.
The department says Edo’s vest is sponsored by Elaine Miller of Lillington, NC and will be embroidered with, "Protect both this K9 and his handler”. K9 Max’s vest is sponsored by an anonymous donor and will be embroidered with, “In loving memory of Scrawny," according to the department.
Vested Interest in K9s, Inc. is headquartered out of East Taunton, MA. The company's mission is to provide bullet- and stab-protective vests and other assistance to dogs of law enforcement and related agencies throughout the United States, according to the group's website.
The non-profit was established in 2009 to assist law enforcement agencies with potentially lifesaving body armor for their K9 officers. According to the group, Vested Interest in K9s, Inc. provided more than 2,100 protective vests in 50 states at a cost of nearly $2 million.
The program is open to dogs at least 20 months of age that are actively employed in law enforcement or related agencies. New K9 graduates, as well as K9s with expired vests, are eligible to participate, according to the group's website.
Vested Interest in K9s, Inc. accepts donations. They say $1,050 will provide one K9 protective vest., which they value between $1,795 and $2,234, according to a statement from the Wagoner County Sheriff's Department.
Vested Interest in K9s estimates there are about 30,000 law enforcement K9s throughout the United States.
Max and Edo are expected to get their vests in eight to 10 weeks.
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